Fla. House speaker open to change 'stand your ground' law

Protestors making headway on Day 16 of sit-in


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Wednesday was Day 16 for the sit-in at the Florida State Capitol.

Protesters are demanding a change to the state's controversial "stand your ground" law, and now the powerful Speaker of the Florida House is saying he may be open to change. However, the effort still has a long way to go.

A small group of protesters sat quietly in the Governor's office just before lunch on Day 16 of their sit-in.

Many are strangers to one another but the common thread in their round robin of introductions is that they are in it for the long haul, until lawmakers take up changes to stand your ground.

"The belief that we will win that people have here is just really inspiring and beautiful to me," said Rebecca Wood of Miami.

The protesters may be making headway. Request of additional security for this protest is now estimated to be about $50,000, and that's just about the cost of a one-day special session that the Dream Defenders are demanding.

Published reports say House Speaker Will Weatherford is open to reviewing Stand Your Ground if there is a consensus of law enforcement that changes are needed.

Protesters see it as a step in the right direction.

"We just need our legislatures, like speaker Weatherford coming out today with that statement," said Curtis Hierro of Orlando. "We need them to show leadership on this."

The Governor's Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection issued nine recommendations in January that never got a legislative hearing.

FSU police Chief David Perry is a former member of the task force.

"The law enforcement unit that was represented, the judiciary that was represented, we were of the consensuses with our findings," said Perry.

The report calls for uniform enforcement of Stand Your Ground across the state. It also says that neighborhood watch volunteers shouldn't be allowed to pursue potential suspects.

The report also suggested changes to mandatory sentencing laws that sent Jacksonville's Marissa Alexander to jail for 20 years for firing a gun in what may believe was self-defense.